Banksy, ‘Very Little Helps’


  • Banksy
  • Very Little Helps
  • 2008
  • Screenprint on paper
  • 54 cm x 36.8 cm
  • Original work certified by Pest Control
  • Signed limited edition with only 299 pieces made
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Very Little Helps shows a group of three children surrounding a flag pole. Two of them, with their hands to their hearts, it is as if they were swearing allegiance, while the third, at the pole, in place of a flag is holding up a plastic bag with the Tesco brand , a well-known British multinational. A serene blue color characterizes the sky, while the figures are made in black and white and the writing “Tesco” in red.

A theme closely linked to Banksy’s works, the critique of capitalism is very evident in this work. In the midst of the pungent irony that characterizes the style of Banksy, an artist who never renounces to provoke the viewer, the work transforms an oath of loyalty to the nation into an apology for capitalism and its laws. The plastic bag raised in place of the flag bears the brand of one of the most important British multinationals, thus criticized by Banksy. Tesco is in fact a food chain, the first distribution group in the country and one of the largest in Europe.

It’s not the only time the street artist has mentioned Tesco :

  • in 2005 is the Soup Can screen printing , a reference to the iconic cans of Andy Warhol, but with the Tesco brand instead of Campbell;
  • in 2011 he made the Tesco Petrol Bomb screen printing on the occasion of the riots that took place in the hometown of Banksy ( Bristol ) which took place right near a Tesco market, damaging it.

Through these works Banksy denounces the pervasiveness of the Tesco markets present in almost every English street, hymns to consumption in the face of problems such as poverty and social inequalities.

With Very Little Helps, Banksy seems to be ironic about how companies in the capitalist model of production have grown to the point of becoming so powerful that they can almost be considered nations, new flags to swear allegiance to and submit to.

Very Little Helps was born in 2008 as a mural created on the side of a building housing a pharmacy, along the Essex Road in London. The work was the subject of disputes and controversies and was vandalized by rival street artist King Robbo who damaged the Tesco flag by covering it with his tag. In the same year of creation of the mural Banksy reproduced the work in the limited edition screen printing of 299 signed copies in original proposed here. The silkscreen image is mirrored compared to the original mural.

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